As millennials make up an increasingly large portion of our nation’s workforce, it’s important to understand and meet their needs within the workplace. According to Accel and Qualtrics’s 2017 “Millennial Study,” “Millennials are far more concerned than older generations about having the right skills to succeed in the workplace — 50% of them question their capacity for success making them 2x more worried about their skill set than older generations.” The best way to address this need is to provide a strong foundation during training.
A common mistake employers make is leaving training and performance management up to individual leaders within the organization. This approach can lead to inconsistencies in expectations and employee development, depending on the experience level and bandwidth of each leader. When leaders are expected to split their time between personal production and the management of a team, it can exacerbate this issue and may result in a poor employee experience.
The Power of Role-based Training
One way to address this problem is to establish role-based training that is systemic across the organization. When it’s implemented well, this training aligns with the responsibilities of each role, provides appropriate training for employees based on what’s expected of them and enables leaders to be more consistent in helping employees achieve desired results. Role-based training then becomes the benchmark by which both employees and leadership can be measured. Leaders are measured on their ability to coach, mentor and successfully develop employees. Employees, meanwhile, are measured on their ability to take direction and execute the skills on which they have been trained.
The Importance of Ongoing Engagement
Role-based training is an investment in employees and leaders. While hiring is an important part of the process, retaining employees after they’re hired is essential. Role-based training alone will not necessarily keep existing employees satisfied and productive over time. It must be combined with a regular management cadence in which leaders engage with their team members to assess and coach their employees to success.
A regular management cadence will ensure ongoing employee engagement and help leaders ensure that each employee meets their expectations. Regularly scheduled follow-ups can be in the form of one-on-ones, sales pipeline reviews and client planning sessions. These events serve as an opportunity to reinforce role-based training, identify gaps in performance and establish additional training needs. All of these activities help the organization organization keep its millennial workers engaged well beyond the initial hire.
6 Steps to Train and Retain a Millennial Workforce
If your organization struggles to hire, train and retain your millennial workforce, here are six steps you can take to change that trend:
- Clearly define roles and responsibilities so all employees understand what’s expected of them to achieve success and to continue to grow their career within your organization.
- Determine key performance metrics for each role for leaders and employees to use as a benchmark for success.
- Create role-based training that aligns with the primary responsibilities of each role.
- Provide leaders with a management cadence to ensure consistent individual performance and time management.
- Align reporting to your management cadence to provide visibility and drive desired results.
- Communicate your expectations and train your leaders.
By creating an atmosphere where millennials feel they serve a purpose, this generation of employees will begin to feel valued by the organization. From day 1, it’s important to review and clearly define an employee’s role in your organization, share your vision for the role and reinforce how the employee can achieve that vision. When your employees can see how their role connects them to the organization at large, they are more likely to be actively engaged and stick around.